What about Dre? Does Dre fuck with reggae too?
Remember Dre had Prince Admiral D on the N.W.A album.
Okay, so that reggae sound has been there all along.
It’s in there.
I always knew I was a leader. I was a good leader, but I needed information to make sure that I was leading people to the light as opposed to the darkness.
Even though people act like it’s brand new.
It’s been a part of what we do. It’s just never been in the foreground. It’s always been in the background.
And plus you’re not just bringing the sound now, you’re bringing the meditation behind it too.
Yeah, the whole way of life, the livity of it all. The beginning. The happiness. The struggle. You know, the whole function of the scene. That’s why it was important for us to go there and get it as opposed to just making a record and trying to project that vibe from L.A. or New York.
I haven’t seen the documentary yet—were you challenged by anyone down there? Cause Jamaica don’t give a fuck. You could be a big star or just someone coming off the boat.
Nah, I had one half of a problem. Let me explain the problem, it wasn’t even a real problem. What it was, I had went to visit some motherfuckers on this street. And one of my fans came onto the street and he had a barbershop that was maybe two houses away. He wanted me to stop what I was doing to come into his barbershop cause he got a picture of Tupac and me in there. So he like, “Motherfucker, I’m your number one fan. Come over to my spot, blah blah blah.” I had to lightweight give him some game. “I’ll see you when I see you. I’m not here to see you. Have a seat. And take a ticket. Or matter of fact take a picture.”
Instagram that shit.
You know what we do.
But on a spiritual level, it sounds like you had some real intense conversations with the Rasta elders. What was the biggest insight that you gained from reasoning with the older dreads?
Direction. You know. Cause we always seek to find information. And where to get information and direction. When you accept the role of leader, you have to know why you’re leading and where you’re leading. And I didn’t know. I always knew I was a leader. I was a good leader, but I needed information to make sure that I was leading people to the light as opposed to the darkness.
You were a leader from day one. But if you heard a song like “No Guns Allowed” back in those “187” days, would you have embraced that message?
Nope. Nope. Cause I had a gang of guns. Fuck that. If I didn’t have none I was gonna get it poppin’. It was like that. But that was then. You know, you can’t change then from now. That made me who I am. If I didn’t go through that to see the effects of having [a gun], the dangers of what it does when you got em. I understand now. I could play both sides of it—the one with it, the one without. And I’m telling you the one without is the one. It’s what you put out, what you project. When I move with it, I’m lookin’ for it. When I move without it I ain’t looking for it. It’s not even on my mind…
It frees up your whole spirit.
That was my train of thought.
You’ve been calling yourself “Bob Marley reincarnated” for a minute now. It’s not just on this record—going back to The Neptunes Present: Clonesyou have used that line. What did th m
One thing about certain writers, they write reality. Like when I was writing with Tupac for example, whatever he wrote happened.
ean to you back then? And what does it mean now?
It meant the same thing to me right now, it’s just I didn’t know that it meant that. One thing about certain writers, they write reality. Like when I was writing with Tupac for example, whatever the fuck he wrote happened.
Pac was like that.
He was like that. And it was like when you write with him, then you projecting the same shit. It’s like you start to see it happen. And you say, “Hold on, I don’t think I’m gonna die in this song right here. I think my character gonna live.” You know what I’m sayin? When you young, you ain’t conscious. You’re just writing the truth. You don’t know if you’re gonna live. So you just write the worst shit. Cause you know motherfuckers can relate to the worst as opposed to a superhero. Then it comes to life.
The Rastas say “Word Sound and Power.”
The record that grabbed me was “Fruit Juice.” What is that record about?
You got the people that’s in the studio doing they thing. And you got the tasty juices and fruits and whatnot. Music come on and they clowning around and come up with it. Before you know it they got the words and they played it for me. I’m like, “I’ll lay it down. To me it’s a healthy song. It’s about drinking fruit juices and being with my empress. Celebrating love and life and putting the right things inside of you. Despite it sounding like a banger, it’s a message in there. You listen to it.
Take it back to the essence. And now you’re also going to be planting fruits in the streets of Jamaica so the youths can get a taste of that juice.
And it wasn’t even meant like that. I didn’t even know. It seems like it was all scripted but it ain’t.
Look like the things you write are coming true now.
Yes. See how it revolves?